Paul Cuffe Jr. and the Pacific World

After the above voyages I stayed at home a few months, but not being contented on shore, about the 25th of June, 1829, I again went to sea in the ship Trident, of 600 tons. There were sixty of the crew, principally experienced whalemen. We were bound to the Pacific Ocean, for whale. Our course was as usual by way of the Western Islands, where we arrived in about 20 days. We caught three Sperm on the passage. We stopped at Flores, one of these islands, where we took in potatoes, onions, pumpkins, hogs, and chickens. Here we stopped but two days. Then we steered away south for the Cape De Verds, which we passed. The next land which we saw was the Isle of May. Thence we steered away for Cape Horn, where we arrived in 90 days thereafter. We then doubled Cape Horn, and sailed northward off the coast, until we came to the island of Juan Fernandez, famous for its being for several years the abode of the celebrated Robinson Crusoe. One could not help thinking of the dreadful life this celebrated navigator lived while here. His lonely hours and tantalizing dreams. His constant fear of beasts and cannibal savages. While here we visited the untenanted cave where that noted adventurer is said to have resided. On this island are a great many goats; also peaches, which grow wild in the woods. There were but few people here. The colony planted by Crusoe not having multiplied very fast. The land here is good, but the shore is generally bold. From this place we sailed for Payta, in latitude 5 degrees south, where we arrived after more than six months sail from the time we left New Bedford. Here we took in potatoes and onions, re-fitted ship, and made ready for fishing. Here we stayed eighteen days. Then we sailed for the “offshore ground” a famous place for sperm whale. We were fifty days sailing from Payta to the shore. Here we stayed five months, and took but two hundred barrels sperm. We then sailed again for Payta, where we recruited ship, staid a couple of weeks, and then sailed for Tombus, where we took in wood and water. When this was done, we sailed the for Gallipago Islands, where we went for Terrapin. The Terrapin very much resembles our large Turtle, only they live wholly on the land, and weigh from four to five hundred pounds. The manner of taking them is as follows: In the morning we used to go up into the island, among the bushes, where we usually found them feeding upon cabbage trees, that they had gnawed down the night before. After finding them two of us used to go up to them and turn them over upon their backs, then tie their legs, and swing them between us, by lashing them to our backs. We then carry them to the boats, and from thence to the ship. We sometimes keep them alive six months without any food or drink. They make excellent soup, and are esteemed very healthy. They are worth, when brought to a sea-port city, from two hundred to three hundred dollars. We took six hundred of these animals in five days, and got them on board ship.

After this, we went again to the “off shore” coast, for sperm whale. We had the luck to take six whale after we had been out two days. After this we continued our sail to the place of destination, where we took in eighteen hundred barrels of oil. Here we stayed three months, and sailed for Callao, on the coast of Peru. After arriving at the latter place, I left the ship and went aboard of the Charles, of London. The Trident, after recruiting ship sailed for New Bedford.

The Charles, on board of which I had shipped, sailed in about two weeks after I went aboard, for sperm, along the coast, but we had such a drunken Captain that we could not do any business. He was not sober any of the time while we were out. After going into the port from whence we last sailed I left the Charles and went on board the Golconda, of New Bedford. In this vessel I stayed about nine months, during which we fished in Panama bay with tolerable success. The Captain was a bad man and abused the crew very much.—From this bay we went to Payta, where I was paid off and left the ship.


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